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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA hoops heads to Hawaii (w/ Video)

Alan Walsh/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh/Arizona Daily Wildcat

The UA men’s basketball team is saying “”aloha”” to its first road competition, but playing in Hawaii will be anything but paradise.

The young Wildcats (2-0) will vie to find their true identity as they take on Wisconsin (2-0) tonight at 10 p.m. Tucson time as part of the EA Sports Maui Invitational, televised by ESPN2.

“”I don’t know if any team going to Maui right now feels great unless you have an older, experienced team,”” said UA head coach Sean Miller. “”We’ll learn a lot about who we are. I know this: Some of our freshmen — they won’t have to listen to me. They’ll learn it themselves.””

Miller is still trying to figure out what works best for his team, as far as personnel goes. He started freshmen Derrick Williams and Solomon Hill against Rice University on Thursday instead of freshmen Kyryl Natyazhko and Momo Jones as he did in the season opener, but it’s far from a permanent change.

Miller said he will continue to play with the lineup for a while.

There was a mix-up with the sophomores as well on Thursday.

Walk-on D.J. Shumpert and redshirt sophomore Alex Jacobson got into the game briefly on Thursday, though Garland Judkins didn’t see any playing time.

“”He didn’t get in, and maybe he will next game,”” Miller said of Judkins. “”You can’t play everybody. Generally it’s going to be 10 players. I’m trying to, as our staff is, to put the best 10 players out there.””

But for those who are getting into Miller’s rotation, the ball is being shared pretty evenly. Seven Wildcats scored against Rice and four scored in double digits, with senior Nic Wise scoring a game-high 15 points.

“”It’s just a system,”” Wise said. “”Our system is equal opportunity. There’s going to be some games where I need to score more than others, but when you have help like that it makes the game easier. It makes it easier to create and find open plays.””

Sophomore Kyle Fogg, who had six points and four rebounds off the bench Thursday, said the team needs to be extra-focused on the road this season. Last year the Wildcats were 7-11 away from McKale Center.

“”It starts when you wake up,”” Fogg said. “”It doesn’t just start when you go to the gym.””

Wisconsin is a physical team that utilizes its half court play to slow the game down. Arizona will do all it can with whatever lineup Miller concocts to try to speed Wisconsin’s play and win a trip to Hawaiin paradise.

“”A lot of people don’t expect us to win,”” Wise said. “”We have a pretty strong, deep team and we feel it’s going to be hard for teams to keep up with us with the pace we play.””

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